Historic ErasHistoric eras—including prehistory, ancient and modern history—represent time viewed through the lens of human events
The vast network of roads built by the Romans spanned from England to India and is considered one of the main drivers of the expansive reach of the Empire. Eighteen hundred years later, Greek workers digging a new subway line in the city of Thessaloniki have stumbled across a 230-foot long stretch of a Roman marble [...]
June 27, 2012 | By Colin Schultz
Residents have so far been able to stay safe from the fires, but strong winds compounding on record high temperatures, a dry winter, and possibly a recent pine beetle infestation, have rocketed this year's fire season to be one of the most destructive in at least four decades.
June 27, 2012 | By Colin Schultz
The 2012 London summer Olympics will be the first time Saudi women athletes will be able to compete. According to the Associated Press, The discussions on sending women to the games have been wrapped in secrecy for fear of a backlash from the powerful religious establishment and deeply traditional society in which women are severely [...]
June 26, 2012 | By Colin Schultz
How were those gigantic Easter Island statues—the moai—moved from the quarry to their final stations? One going theory, popularized by Guns, Germs and Steel author Jared Diamond, has it that they were put on wooden sledges and pulled over a system of log rails. But here’s another theory: the statues, ranging from four to 33 [...]
June 21, 2012 | By Sarah Laskow
Hosni Mubarak’s heart has stopped beating and he’s not responding to defibrillation. Mubarak is clinically dead. Wait, no—Mubarak is in a coma and now he’s on life support. Just kidding, Mubarak is almost stable. Uncertainty shrouds the 84-year-old former Egyptian president’s condition like smoke from so many hookahs. But confusion also accompanies the various medical [...]
June 20, 2012 | By Rachel Nuwer
Compare documents filed by the first and last homesteaders in the United States
May 2012 | By T.A. Frail and Megan Gambino
The Dalai Lama is one of the world's most revered religious leaders, but that didn't prevent four holders of the office from dying under mysterious circumstances
April 10, 2012 | By Mike Dash
America's longtime counterterrorism czar warns that the cyberwars have already begun—and that we might be losing
April 2012 | By Ron Rosenbaum
“Kipper und Wipper”: Rogue Traders, Rogue Princes, Rogue Bishops and the German Financial Meltdown of 1621-23
It is tempting to think of the German hyperinflation of 1923 as a uniquely awful event, but it pales in comparison to what happened in the 17th century.
March 29, 2012 | By Mike Dash
A curator from the National Archives takes us through what the governing charter means
March 2012 | By Megan Gambino
Custom in the Ottoman Empire mandated that a condemned grand vizier could save his neck if he won a sprint against his executioner
March 22, 2012 | By Mike Dash
His 20-volume masterwork was hailed as "the most ambitious enterprise in publishing since the production of the King James Bible"—and he paid dearly for his ambition
March 21, 2012 | By Gilbert King
When the spectators at Rome's spectacular circuses split into factions, it threatened to bring the Eastern Empire down. The day was saved by Byzantium's remarkable empress, but only at the cost of 30,000 lives
March 02, 2012 | By Mike Dash
From American art, history and culture, air and space technology, contemporary art, Asian art and any of the sciences from astronomy to zoology, we'll find an answer
February 07, 2012 | By Aviva Shen
He was the barbarians' barbarian who called himself "the Scourge of God." But how did the terrible Attila command such loyalty—and why, in death, was he so mourned?
February 03, 2012 | By Mike Dash
Two thousand years before Picasso, artists in Egypt painted some of the most arresting portraits in the history of art
February 2012 | By Smithsonian Magazine
Charles J. Guiteau said he wanted to kill President James A. Garfield "in an American manner." He passed up several opportunities before he thought the time was right.
January 17, 2012 | By Gilbert King
January 2012 | By G. Wayne Clough
In A.D. 9, the Chinese emperor nationalized his state's land and redistributed it to the peasantry. That revolutionary act cost him his throne and his life—and even now his motives remain unclear
December 09, 2011 | By Mike Dash
The first case of stigmata—the appearance of marks or actual wounds like those Christ received during the Crucifixion—was recorded in 1224. Hundreds of cases have followed. But this phenomenon has not been fully explained.
November 18, 2011 | By Mike Dash